Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave some fringe men a taste of European action as Rangers drew with Lyon in their final group match in the Europa League.
Scott Wright was given a rare start and chance to shine, and he duly took it, scoring the opening goal before Lyon fought back to equalise as the tie finished 1-1.
This result meant the side remain unbeaten under the Dutchman and momentum is steadily building.
Defensive woes have improved
Although Rangers conceded against Lyon, the goal was only the second scored against the Ibrox side since van Bronchhorst took charge.
Under Steven Gerrard, the club had conceded first in 11 matches before his departure, whereas under the new regime, the side has yet to concede first and only two goals have been scored against the side in five matches.
The defensive woes were becoming more and more of a habit rather than the odd individual mistake and this has improved massively since the new manager has come in.
Fringe players took their chance
Rangers tie against Lyon was essentially a dead rubber and one for experimental purposes. With several changes made ahead of the tie, van Bronckhorst gave some forgotten players much-needed game time.
Scott Wright, Nathan Patterson, and John Lundstram all started, with the latter being particularly impressive in his first start since Gerrard left.
It was good to see players getting a chance to shine and give the manager some food for thought as the busiest period of the season approaches. It shows we have enough strength in depth to play well twice a week and achieve positive results.
More than a match for anyone
Rangers finished the Europa League group stage in second place and therefore face a playoff to qualify for the last 16.
As the side adapts to the new way of doing things under van Bronckhorst and the various tactical tweaks he has made, we shouldn’t be fearing anyone when the draw is made.
The club could face one of Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Porto, RB Leipzig, Villarreal, Sheriff Tiraspol, Sevilla, or Zenit Saint Petersburg in the playoff round.
Make no bones about it, there isn’t an easy tie amongst the eight teams, however, I believe that a couple more months under the Dutchman and we will be confident regardless of who we face.
It is an exciting time to be a Rangers fan again, with European action secured after Christmas and the team rejuvenated under the 46-year-old, there is plenty to look forward to.
Meanwhile, the club has suffered a blow as Ryan Jack wasn’t involved against Lyon, sparking fears over the player.